EXCLUSIVE: Homeland co-executive producer Chip Johannessen has signed a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV, whose cable division Fox 21 produces the hot Showtime drama. Under the pact, Johannessen will continue on Homeland, where he will be upped to executive producer for the upcoming second season. He also will develop new projects for cable and broadcast.
Johannessen, who was an executive producer on Fox’s 24 alongside Homeland creators/executive producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, served as showrunner of Showtime’s flagship drama Dexter before segueing to Homeland, which was successfully paired with Dexter for its launch. “Chip is a true cable voice,” said Fox 21 president Bert Salke, who had pursued Johannessen for development for a while. “He is irreplaceable on (Homeland); he is a key member and a backbone of the writing group and has become more active in showrunner duties.” ICM-repped Johannessen has written key episodes from Homeland‘s first season, including the explosive season finale. The pact with Johannessen comes on the heels of an overall deal for Gansa as 20th TV and Fox 21 are looking to keep intact what Salke called a “murderers’ row” of writers on the show, all of whom have showrunner experience: Gordon, Gansa, Johannessen, Alexander Cary, Meredith Stiehm and Henry Bromell. “That list sounds ridiculous; I haven’t seen a staff like that in the last 15 years,” said Salke, adding that the studio hopes to be working with them “for a … Read More »
WGAW Board Members Chip Johannessen and Patric Verrone have issued a strongly worded message of support the Comcast writers wanting WGA representation:
To Our Fellow Members,
“If the Writers Guild didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it.” — Legendary Hollywood executive Sid Sheinberg said that back in 1988 when he was president of Universal Studios. Mr. Sheinberg didn’t say it out of some great love of the Guild. The fact is we were on strike at the time and, if there had been some way to do without us, any self-respecting studio head would have jumped at the chance. But Mr. Sheinberg understood the role that our Guild, and all the other guilds and unions, play in this industry. A role that Universal’s latest owner, Comcast, seems not to understand.
Hollywood runs on a talented pool of what is essentially freelance labor. The guilds, every bit as much as the companies, make this talent pool possible by ensuring two things: First, that when you work, you’ll be fairly compensated. And second, that your pension and health benefits follow you from job to job. Projects and shows come and go, but fair compensation and portable benefits ensure that talented people remain. This guild-based ecosystem works to everyone’s advantage, including the companies. It makes our industry possible. Because talented people won’t follow their dreams here if, after 20 years of working, they’ve got nothing to show for it. And without the talent pool,
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The cancer theme from Showtime’s C Word panel carried over to the Dexter panel where star Michael C. Hall was asked about his treatment for the disease. The actor, now back at work on Season 5, answered like a consummate professional: ”I was thankful that the hiatus managed to coincide with my treatment. I didn’t have to miss beat.” The TV critics also wanted to know whether Hall feels remorse for playing sympathetic antihero Dexter who may encourage people to kill. ”I don’t lose sleep over the possibility that I’m advocating serial murder through my work,” he said. “It’s undeniable he’s killing people.. most of us live in LA, we’ve been in traffic, we get that impulse… If I hear a comment like that and I’m in the room, I just nod and smile and say I hope this helps lessen the flames in you, that it’s therapeutic.”
The producers of the Emmy-nominated drama discussed changes on the show following the climactic Season 4 finale. In Season 5, Dexter will undergo a process of “atonement” but not a nervous breakdown, since he has now has to cope with the responsibilities of being a single father. The show also will depart from having a single guest “bad guy,” along the lines of John Lithgow this past season, in favor of having Dexter interact with several guests stars.
Executive producer Sara Colleton called the showrunner transition from Clyde Phillips, who left at the end of last season, to Chip Johannessen “seamless” because he was a big fan and … Read More »